Well this is very exciting indeed, The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary has teamed up with our good friends Airtasker UK to launch a nationwide hunt for a new chief toymaker for our tigers. Using the Airtasker platform, we want to find someone to design, create and build a unique enrichment toy for our tigers that stimulates their key senses and natural instincts while challenging them physically and mentally.
In the wild tigers experience new sensations all the time so we introduce as many as we can to their habitat and enrichment is a way of stimulating them. For example we know they are attracted by texture and believe it or not they love lavender scent so we want somebody to create something that appeals to all their senses!
Let’s be clear, these are no ordinary toys we are looking for. Tigers are powerful animals so the toys need to be robust and well-built so they can’t be destroyed in a matter of minutes. What we need are two key things:
- Food toys – where we can insert a treat and our tigers have to work out how to get the food – tigers are very intelligent and love a problem-solving challenge!
- Behavioural enrichment – toys that stimulate our tigers’ natural wild instincts
Ideally made of wood, old crates, fire hose, garage springs, heavy duty hessian or bungee cord; these are hardcore, supersized versions of what you might see a domestic cat play with.
Our Animal Manager, Marc Fox, explains: “Tigers are tactile animals and love to explore but if you don’t add new experiences then their habitat can quickly become mundane. What we are looking for in a tiger toy is something that stimulates their key senses and challenges them both physically and mentally.”
“Whoever takes on the challenge needs to know that tigers are incredibly powerful animals but at the same time it is essential to have an element of problem solving to it, tigers are very intelligent and will enjoy the mental challenge. It is great that Airtasker have a nationwide platform to take our search national and get the very best person for the job.”
We need someone with great DiY skills, carpentry experience and a knack for turning scrap and junk into something great. But don’t worry if you’re not so great on the tools – we’re also open to finding someone who can simply provide us with ideas and inspiration for what the toys could be, so let us know if you’ve got any roarsome ideas!
For this summer, we need one or two prototype toys and some designs so we can then re-create them in our own workshop. We’ll need you to come down to the Isle of Wight and take a brief, meet the keepers and then work with us on the prototype designs before bringing them to the Sanctuary and delivering them to the tigers to play with.
Air Tasker UK are offering £500 to develop the designs and we also have a budget to pay for materials and travel, although we’re hoping that you may have old scraps lying around at home that you can turn into something amazing!
If this sounds like you then we would love to hear from you.